Low vision – an impairment that cannot be corrected by surgery, contacts or glasses – impacts as many as 15 million people nationwide. Unique from “poor eyesight” or the need for a “stronger prescription,” symptoms of low vision can include everything from blurred vision to blind spots.

Do you have pre-existing medical conditions or a family history that could put you at risk for vision loss? February is Low Vision Awareness Month and this is a great time to become aware of the symptoms and risks associated with low vision.

It’s important to know your risk for low vision, as well as what services are available to help cope with the potential of decreased eyesight. Premier Home Health Care Services, Inc. can provide in-home health services that will ease the stress of living with low vision, and is proud to provide support for some of the 1 in 28 Americans affected by low or impaired vision.

Studies show that aging is the number one factor that correlates with low vision and it is the leading cause of age-related disability. In addition to age, preexisting eye conditions such as glaucoma, macular degeneration and cataracts increase your risk for low vision and loss of sight as you age.

Additionally, more than 30% of Americans who suffer from diabetes (which is more than 7.5 million people) are affected by diabetic retinopathy – a leading cause of low vision. Diabetic retinopathy is directly linked to high blood sugar. High blood sugar damages blood vessels and can even detach the retina, resulting in blindness.

Managing diabetes can help prevent diabetic retinopathy. Colorful fruits and leafy, dark vegetables help stabilize blood sugar and balance your diet. Premier staff is trained on diabetic diets and can offer meal preparation and nutrition guidance to ensure that what you eat is working for you – not against you.

Up to 80% of low vision cases can be prevented through an eye exam. Be sure your eye care provider tests for contrast sensitivity, depth perception and ocular response to glare. Dilating your pupils helps to examine the back of the eyes and detect any potential warning signs. Testing for glaucoma and macular degeneration are crucial in knowing the state of the health of your eyes and how at risk you may be for disease. The Glaucoma Research Foundation suggests individuals 65 and over should receive an eye exam every six to 12 months.

Anyone who is currently affected by low vision should address the lighting of their home, which will help to improve mobility. Other adjustments, such as using contrasting colors to help define depth perception and edges of objects can be incorporated into the living environment. Simply changing text size on a cell phone or tablet, for example, can extend usability of these devices for someone with impaired vision.

Premier Home Health Care provides services to maintain quality of life and independence. Appointment Escort Services are available for those whose vision prevents them from driving, and home health aides can assist with everyday activities that are made difficult by loss of vision such as reading medication and food labels.

To speak with us about vision loss and how Premier can help, please call 1-866-648-5119.